March 7 - Compass Medical Waste Services staffer Nkululeko Ndimande is prepared to handle medical waste emanating from coronavirus patients. Photo: Supplied
March 7 - Compass Medical Waste Services staffer Nkululeko Ndimande is prepared to handle medical waste emanating from coronavirus patients. Photo: Supplied

Correct medical waste management critical to prevent coronavirus spreading

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Mar 7, 2020

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Durban - As South Africa moves to contain the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in KwaZulu-Natal, stringent management of infectious medical waste is critical to prevent the spread of the highly transmissible pathogen, according to Durban-based Compass Medical Waste Services. 

High risk medical waste generated from COVID-19 patients includes everything from infectious swabs, bandages, cotton wool buds, linen, gloves, and masks, to needles, blades, scalpels, and possibly anatomical waste such as blood and body fluids. Even eating utensils used by an infected patient are treated as hazardous waste, the company said in a statement.

The process for handling infected waste was governed by strict health, environmental, and transport legislation.  

“The public can be assured that medical waste service providers are equipped and trained to handle the collection, treatment, and disposal of the coronavirus medical waste as needed," Compass Medical Waste Services managing director Ian du Randt said in the statement.

"Certainly any infectious medical waste that we are responsible for will be treated effectively in the best interests of the patient, the waste generator, and the public.”

Du Randt cautioned that not only hospitals and medical facilities had a responsibility to correctly handle high risk waste, particularly during a disease outbreak. Under the National Environmental Management Act, any generator of waste had to “manage the waste in such a manner that it does not endanger health,” he said.

“This means that over and above healthcare institutions, entities like hotels, gyms, shopping malls, stadiums and ports of entry should be looking at their obligations and duty of care to their customers and the public at large,” Du Randt said.

African News Agency

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